I was able to take my test late. I got 100%. But after she docks the points for late-taking... at least I can still get an A in the class, I think.

Tomorrow is the big (Career) day.

I bought a wine colored velvet suit. It fits very well. All the sleek black and navy ones were baggy in weird places or long on my stubby arms. The velvet one I got has round gold buttons and despite being very professional as an ensemble, I think if I accessorized appropriately, I could use it as a halloween pirate costume. I couldn't find shoes to match, so I am wearing some black maryjanes that I have. I think they will look o.k. And my resume is finished (I think - I'm giving it another once over later tonight.)

I also got off work tomorrow for the first half of my shift so I can get some sleep after the event.


How Do You Forget Something Like That?

I forgot to take a test today. It was open book, on-line and I totally forgot to do it this morning before I went to school (Crazy me, I ate dinner instead!)

So I get home late - had to stop off and get gas, get stuck in construction traffic, had to drop something off somewhere. I get home 10 minutes after the test closed. Luckily it is only 12% of my grade. But if I can't take it late, I think an A is out of the question.

Evan - I owe you an apology.

Everyone else - never take your planner out of your bag because it's heavy. Failure is heavier.


Mark Got Lost

We were driving around an old neighborhood by our house where Mark used to go to skateboard when he was a kid and he actually got turned around and misplaced North. Finally, after 9 years, I have some evidence that he isn't perfect. I had to write it down because otherwise, I will think it was a hallucination.

I'm a lucky gal.

I also have no spacial reference whatsoever. North? People are in touch with such a concept? I don't know what they are talking about... if the sun is in an obvious place in the sky, then I can tell you East and West, but North? Now that doesn't have a sun. And at noon, I let Mark drive. He and North have some kind of special relationship that only recently had its first upheaval of any kind.

Today, I did graph some fractal sets (some variations of the Julia set) in the complex plane for my fractal class using technical computing software (which hates my guts, so this is more fantastic an accomplishment than finding North!) I posted some terrible scans of my results on my fractal class weblog. The pictures are so beautiful in the program but they are really, really large files, so I haven't figured out how to post them so that the detail shows.

This week - A Preview

I have two papers to write this week. One on analyzing a Native American ritual using some dude's theories on ritual and another about three ethnic variations on death and burial practices. Sounds thrilling, yes?

Friday is the big Career Day, where I will be meeting with 12 potential employers in the valley for a seminar. I am hoping to score an internship for summer or fall or both so that I don't have to take anymore classes. I am going to try to get my resumés printed tomorrow with pretty raised letters. If that doesn't work, plan B is in the works for an independent study program to work on technical software and actuary application of my math skill (I am getting referred to a professor that might sponsor that work who is a retired Actuary.) Plan C is also in the works, since I have preregistered for Fall classes. I hope I get to drop at least one in favor of one of the latter options. (I have an easy math one and an ugly stats one.)

I also have a date with Jennifer and Stephanie to go to the RennFest on Sunday. It's the last weekend, so I hope we don't have to break it. I think it sounds like a blast. Jamie has some pictures of her experience this year and it looks so fun.


Stuff I Like

I think this baby is super pretty.

Chalula Hot Sauce.

The new Harvest Grain DiGiorno Pizza.

EarthBound Farms' Organic Herb Salad - I eat this for lunch literally every day. I fix it up a little differently to switch things up sometimes, but my favorite is with Kraft Caesar Parmesan Vinigrette and Feta Cheese.

Engaging people with different ideas in stimulating, not-always-agreeing conversation / seeing things through different perspectives.

Thinking outside my comfort zone.

Not following my heart. (It's not a reliable source. I like my head better -- once in a while it agrees with my heart but not always.)

Playing with children.

Writing on a blank piece of paper - especially if it is pretty paper.



Spring Break in Pictures

We started out on Hollywood Blvd.
We hit the coasters the next morning.
Then Evan and I got some chopper action.

While Jennifer and Stephanie stayed at the park playing.
I think I look exactly like Brandy.
In fact, if I couldn't see Knottsberry Farm in the background,
Mark never would have been able to convince me that this wasn't her.

This was my favorite custom.

Pictures, pictures, pictures

I just got all my pictures back. I have stuff from last summer! So many things to show you. It takes time to put them up there, so I wil do a few a day for a little while to visually catch you up on some of the fun stuff.

First, remember when I told you that my cats
like to have boxing matches with each other?

Kazi is on the left, Akira on the right.

Kazi gets in a right hook, but Kira blocks.

And gets in a mean left to retain her seat as the undefeated cat boxing champion.

Girls rule. I cannot begin to tell you how funny this is to watch. It never gets old.



A lot of little things are going on.

I am going to a lot of career fairs and pounding the pavement with the hopes of picking up an internship to complete my degree. Today, to hedge bets, I picked Fall classes for preregistration. What I want to take that would actually help me in real life never counts for my degree (such as Mat 210: analysis for business.)

The above involves fine tuning my resume, cover letter, and job description. Luckily, this will all carry over to my first job search, since the req's are identical. If you want to edit and make suggestions, let me know. I can use all the opinions I can get. I love beautiful paper. I love paper stores.

I am studying like crazy... both for school (three tests next week) and for the Actuary exam (56 days away.) I made a list of all the skills I am weak at and have been reviewing every math class I have ever taken to strengthen them and make sure I am sharp on everything. It is really making me feel smart and confident. (It's the new stuff that isn't there, yet.)

I am still dealing with trying to change my name with the Social Security Administration. What a nightmare! If it is this hard to change ones name, I can't imagine what people must have to do to get benefits!

I finally sent my pictures in to be developed. (Some of them are from the honeymoon, some from some of our roadtrips, and the lastest trip to LA.) You should be seeing them here soon!

Monday night, Mark and I had the funnest date. We had to stay up for 9 more hours after already staying up for 27, so we got the entire 5th season of CSI on DVD, a bottle of wine, and some take out and hung out talking and marathoning with TV (a rare treat, since we don't have it hooked up to watch.)


More φ

Mark wanted me to say a little more about φ (phi - my favorite number) because I didn't mention anything specific before. It is irrational, so its decimal place goes on forever with no
discernable pattern. It has been calculated out to many thousands of decimals. The first few are:


A simple definition of its unique property is that to square it, you just add one:
φ² = φ +1 This can be "simplified" to φ = 1 /[φ - 1]. -- equally strange.

(Which makes φ the smallest existing solution to the quadratic equation and the simplest continued fraction.)

It is explicitly defined as the positive solution to the quadratic formula (from the equation above):

[sqrt(5) + 1]/2 - The negative solution has all the same freaky properties, though.

It cannot be written as exact fractions of integers, but there is a sequence of fractional "fibonacci" numbers that approximate it sequentially better as it progresses farther down the sequence.

For more, check out some basic facts or more thorough information.



My favorite number is phi (pronounced fee or sometimes fye.) Mark was asking me what's so special about this number... or any number for that matter. I started thinking about how to answer that and I ended up with a deeper appreciation for all numbers in general. Maybe what makes phi special is easier to understand if I explain what makes 1 special, because 1 is an easy number to think about, where phi is an irrational number with very strange relationships with other numbers (kind of like pi.) 1 is such a simple integer, but it separates nothing from something, it defines the value of all "things," counting cannot happen without adding 1 to the previous number, and in a sense, 1 is the beginning of abstract thought. It is the first symbol of human problem solving, literally. This makes 1 crucial, yet it is super simple. Phi on the other hand is not simple. Books have been written about it. Lifetimes have been dedicated to understanding it, or finding its value to some record decimal place, and it is literally beautiful. Fraction approximations of phi are the proportions that Di Vinci used in his famous sketch "Vitruvian Man."


This view was majestic in real life. The photo doesn't pick up how enormous that mountain was because the sky overwhelms it. It was breathtaking. Posted by Picasa


Home Again

I had a great time in Los Angeles this weekend. Not just the fun activities we enjoyed, but just being in Los Angeles felt right.

Anyway - highlights of the trip - we had a fun drive with a picnic in Blythe, CA. Jennifer, Stephanie, Evan, Mark and I rotated between naps, car games, and fun conversation. It had stormed recently both in LA and Phoenix, so there was snow at pretty low elevations, and on lots of the hills next to the freeway. It was kind of cool. We got behind a car that had a foot of snow on it's roof so it could "snow" on us.

Our hotel in the heart of Hollywood was literally 40 feet from the main area of the star walk (the Kodak Theatre where they host the Oscars). There were street performers out in force, so we walked around shopping a little and caught a little break dancing on the street by a Cuban B-boy group. They were pretty good. Lots of characters. We shopped and then met Mark and Scott up at Pocito Mas for good mexican food - sort of Scott's birthday dinner. Afterward, we basically crashed - Evan fell asleep fully clothed with his contacts still in - the rest of us followed suit, but had PajamaTime first.

Next morning, we woke up kind of early and went to a little cafe for breakfast and then headed out to Knottsberry Farm. For the record, it is better than Disneyland for adult-scary rides and a ton of good coasters. I thought it was a petting zoo with a Ferris Wheel or something. There were 4 coasters with upside-down loops... nearly everyone's favorite was a long wooden coaster, Ghost Rider. The Silver Bullet (suspended from above with legs swinging like the Batman) actually gives you vertigo when you step off it. Stephanie conquered some fear and went on two very scary ones. There was one funny moment when Jenn dragged Evan and I onto what we thought looked like a kid's ride. It was a circular pendulum swing that rotated 180 at the top of each swing. It started out really slow and we were rolling our eyes. Then it just kept picking up momentum, and picking up momentum and our eyes started watering from all the screaming. It went well above the 90 degrees of the bar holding the pendulum. It was pretty scary because neither of us were prepared for that kind of excitment. It was a great day to go because there were practically no lines whatsoever. The average wait for any ride was about 15 minutes. I realized I'm a thrill junkie. Pretty funny irony when you consider that I am going into a field that minimizes risk.

Evan and I decided to leave Jennifer and Stephanie at the park after picnic lunch in the parking lot and go do something else. We don't have the all-day stamina that they have - So we went to chopper Mecca. We drove to Long Beach to see Jesse James' West Coast Choppers Shop. They created a room for fans to hang out and drool in, with finished choppers lined up, some very neat custom cars, a coffin-keg on wheels, and lots of posters, newsclippings, etc hanging on the wall to see and a gift shop and an area where you can look into the garage where they are putting finishing touches on things. The whole place is a work of metal-art. All the doors, gates, signs, railings, etc are artfully crafted and beautifully detailed. It was sort of spiritual, in a hard to explain way. One of the buildings is an old church and their logo has a cross in it, and with all the beautiful architectural details, pilgrims silently paying respects to the craftmanship... and hoping to catch a glimpse of the icon, Jesse, supposedly upstairs in the offices (we did not see him.) I thought it was appropriate that the only place to sit was an old church pew.

We picked up Jennifer and Stephanie and inched home through rush hour traffic and right when we arrived at the hotel I became suddenly and violently sick. Afterwards, we picked up something to eat, crackers and water for me from the grocery and take out for Jennifer and Stephanie. Evan went out on the town with a friend who lives there and came home later. And again, we just crashed. It was a long exciting day.

It felt wonderful and reaffirmed for me our decision to move there when our lease is up here. I had this terrific moment this morning before we left. I woke up at 5am and got a latte and watched the sun come up over the old familiar neighborhood. It was so warm and nostalgic. And I also got to experience some of the realistic expectations one needs to properly make that kind of decision. It's really hard to live in LA. I mean, literally hard. Everything is inconvenient, more expensive, and a little more complicated. It's crowded and condensed, so the underbelly of society is unavoidably on the surface - and it raises one's social conscience. Since we dropped Mark off at Scott's house, I was in charge of taking care of our needs while we were there, so I did all the city driving, found our eateries, hotel, etc, and coordinated our activities a little. It was interesting to find that I could do those things. I had some driving moves that I'm really proud of. I only got lost once for every time I got behind the wheel - and made fewer than three U-turns per destination. I do worse than that sometimes in Phoenix.

The drive home was uneventful but pleasant. We were all pretty beat. There is still some snow on the mountains outside Phoenix. It looks strange as the backdrop for cactus. The trip felt like a long vacation rather than the 18 day-time hours that it was.



So we finally made plans for Spring Break. I did not get my days off to take an ample vacation, so Mark, Evan, Jennifer, Stephanie and I are driving out for a quick weekend in Los Angeles. We are going to drop Mark off at Scott's house to hang out while the rest of us go to Knotsberry Farm and bum around the beach or something.

I wanted to spend the whole week on the slopes learning how to snowboard - but this will do nicely instead. I will still have plenty of break left to study my little heart out. (And perhaps take care of some procrastinated tasks that always get bumped for school stuff - such as prepping for my pending job search in a few months.)

It is a really weird time in life. Feels very meaningful, compared to usual. All the decisions I am making will actually have lasting impact.

I have so many flashcards right now. My brain is full.

We saw the new Harry Potter (decent) and Jarhead (great).


Evan's Bday Party

We had The Birthday Boy over to celebrate him turning 28 (that makes me feel old.)

We played it lazy and picked up take-out from Rubios (Best Fish Taco In The World - coming from a person who won't eat fish) and a movie.

I made a brownie-ice cream desert with a layer of caramel and almonds between the fudge brownie and rocky road ice cream and hard chocolate shell frosting. But, I didn't think to defrost it a little before serving it. The brownie/caramel layer would not cut. Evan sat there on a mission to try to rescue at least one peice from the dish - and drew the comparison of trying to blow out those prank candles that don't go out... after about 15 minutes of prying and hacking on the brownie, we just ate the ice cream layer. It was really good (and funny.)

Then we watched what was left of the academy awards. Pretty fun. I love hangin' with my bro.

Time is passing too quickly. He's 28, I'm turning 30... it seems ludicrous. Speaking of ludicrous... what was up with that best original song "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp?" I thought that was a joke and I was totally laughing. There was nothing special at all about the repetitive lyrics OR the basic beat music staged behind them (coming from someone who can appreciate above average rap.) - Speaking of good rap, Mark just introduced me to a song called "Phantom" by Murs. Great social awareness commentary.

I want to do something today.



One thing I notice about having a blog that is always updated is that no one ever writes or calls to find out how you are doing.

I had this moment of Zelda... I realized that maybe the reason I love the Zelda game now is that it is the perfect metaphor for life. You start out so weak that you can't even smash a pot with your sword, but as you learn new skills, and collect objects that help you along your way, you slowly get stronger. Sometimes you have to battle guys that totally suck or solve some puzzle that makes no sense, and it becomes so frustrating that you have to turn off the game or get help from someone whose already passed that part. And the game is littered with rewarding successes - you got the Earth element - or got another bottle - or found a secret... And each challenge takes you to the next. It's not always obvious what you are supposed to do, either. If you revisit places you have already been, there are always new things to find, new people to meet, and new insight into what you should do. And funny, when you beat the game and you're done, you're a little sad that it's over because you had so much fun on the journey and you realize that it wasn't about getting to the destination. That's life. It's a game that isn't about winning, but about playing well.

The movie of the day was Scrooged... I can't remember why I liked this as a kid. It's pretty shallow.